Well, it’s a lot more fun writing these recaps after a big win but unfortunately that’s not the case today as we lost to West Chester 3-0 in the cup final yesterday. West Chester were the deserved winners, but I am not sure the score line is a true reflection of the game. However, it that doesn’t matter much today as they don’t give out trophies for only losing by one.
West Chester is one of the most technical teams in the country and it’s a pick your poison type of decision when deciding on what type of tactics to play. We decided to play an aggressive high line and for the first 25 minutes it was effective. West Chester had trouble getting out of the back and we played most of the first part of the game in their half. We created some good chances but couldn’t capitalize. Around the 35th minute somewhat against the run of play West Chester got on the board. Their winger got isolated against one of our outside backs and he whipped in a dangerous ball and all the center forward had to do was deflect it past our keeper. 1-0 to West Chester and we then began to struggle to get out of our half. Our keeper was forced to make a couple massive saves and we were hanging on to get to halftime. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen when a turnover in our back line was followed up by a couple slow reactions and then a foul in the box for a PK. So, on the 42nd minute West Chester made it 2-0. Who knows what happens if we keep it to 1-0 at halftime?
Start of the second half and we put our foot back in the pedal and played most of the half in WC part of the field aside from a few dangerous counters. WC was very good at soaking up pressure for as much of the possession we had in their half we struggled to create any chances. Around the 75th minute we had a ball cleared off the line and another really good chance but again couldn’t capitalize. It would have been a fun final 15 minutes if we make it 2-1 there. Our guys continued to press for 45 minutes and in the 87th minute WC countered and got their third to put the game away.
WC completed the cup double by winning both the Amateur and Open Cup this fall. Even though they have a couple losses in the league they continue to be the dominant force in our area and who the rest of us are trying to catch. Overall, it was one of the most enjoyable amateur games I’ve watched in a while. It was played at a very good pace with quick interchange of play and the talent was abundant all over the field.
Even though the loss is disappointing there are still a lot of positives to take from the day. This was our first cup final in about 10 years (way too long for a club like UGH). The rebuilding we’ve been thru for the last 5 years is starting to show and if our group of guys stays together and continue to do the right things, we’ll be playing in a lot of finals these next bunch of years. About half of our current group has been together since U23s and it’s a pleasure to watch them grow and evolve as players and adults. It was great to see so many club members and alum out yesterday to support us. One club member told me he hadn’t been to a game in 15 years, so I guess we’re doing something right.
As many of the other teams in our league hobble to winter break, I felt like we were only getting stronger so it’s somewhat disappointing that we’re off until the Spring. For now, we go on winter break with maybe some indoor and a ski trip and then back at it in the spring to finish out the league. Appreciate all the emails and texts wishing us good luck yesterday. It was nice to hear from some guys I hadn’t heard from in a while.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
The featured image was taken by Michael N. Fricker on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at the Proving Grounds